Glam band goes serious: ‘we're rocking too hard these days’

Casper and the Cookies fell into its name and the '80s inspired glam mannerisms that defined its live shows. But it's trying to break free from both. RANDY SCHAFER/Staff

Casper and the Cookies is tuning down the glitz and honing in on the music.

Known for their false eyelashes, glitter and sequins, the members have, in the past, resembled David Bowie or any glam rock band in the ’80s. For drummer Gregory Sanders, that all came to an end after the “incident of the R.E.M. party.”

“Before that, I played several shows with the eyelashes on, but in the middle of the set, one of the eyelashes kind of dripped off into my eye,” he said. “I think I melted the glue with just raw heat.”

Since then, he no longer wears the makeup.

The trend originated when the band was on tour with Apples and Stereo and guitarist Jim Hicks began the eyeliner and false-lash path. Every venue Casper and the Cookies went to, there was a dressing room available; the makeup became a pre-show ritual of getting decked out in the glam.

“It was almost a calming, go get ready process,” said bassist and vocalist Kay Stanton. “Now I think it may be a passing phase.”

Hicks will still rock out the makeup from time-to-time, but Sanders said, “We’re rocking too hard these days, it just sweats off.”

Changing its fashion statement isn’t the only change the band is driving at: it’s also focusing more on writing and finding a new band name.

“Whenever somebody asks you what your band name is and you’re embarrassed, that’s a bad sign,” Stanton said. “It just doesn’t suit us anymore.”

The name started as an inside joke, when guitarist and vocalist Jason NeSmith had a solo project called Casper Fandango. Stanton and NeSmith met in an Atlanta-based band Feyerabend and later, Hicks came into the equation when NeSmith and Hicks were working together in the band of Montreal.

“He heard Jim sing a Pixies song and we had him come tryout,” Stanton said. “And then we met Gregory.”

In need of a drummer, the band found him at an unusual Athens event. 

“It was an online dating service,” Sanders said. “No, it was the Athens event called ‘Face/Off.’” 

The “Athens Face/Off”  consisted of musicians being mismatched into groups of three, to create a make-shift band and perform at the 40 Watt. One of the musicians in Sanders’ group was Kay Stanton. After becoming Facebook friends, Sanders saw a notice for a drummer position available and tried out for the band.

The name evolved slightly over the years to Casper and the Cookies and the band was supposed to change its name after each record they recorded – instead, it has stuck with them and now haunts the members.

But still: the band has performed in multiple tours, playing all over Athens. And despite the recent changes, the members don’t intend on stopping any time soon

“The most important aspect is playing well and having a good time, doing what you love to do.” Stanton said. “We’re clearly not doing it for the money … if you’re up there doing what you love and doing it as well as you can, hopefully that translates to the audience.”

CASPER AND THE COOKIES

Where: 40 Watt

When: 9:45 p.m.

Price: $15 (adv.), $16 (door)